Captain Christopher Harriman creaked the door open to the assembly room for the new Starfleet Academy building. Inside, he could see the head of Starfleet Academy, Rear-Admiral Wes Baker, handing graduation certificates to students as they walked up to the podium.
As Chris moved slowly to an empty seat in the back, he watched with interest as fourth-year cadets were congratulated. He was looking for a few junior officers and knew that this was probably his best bet.
After a round of applause died down, Admiral Baker seemed to take on a proud stance. "And now," his voice began over the speakers. "It gives me pleasure to introduce to you all the honored graduates of Starfleet Academy."
This is where Chris grew interested. He knew he had come in late, and thought that he probably wouldnt be able to find out who some of the graduates were. Hed forgotten about the honor graduates!
"First," he continued. "I would like to present this award and certificate of graduation to Lieutenant Todd Malay for outstanding piloting skills!"
Todd Malay Chris thought in his mind. I think I just found the Dragons helmsman.
A young man in red and black Academy clothing walked up to the podium, an arrogant look of pride on his face. I remember being that arrogant when I graduated, he thought to himself with a smile.
Todd accepted the certificates from Admiral Baker and thrust them into the air, giving out a loud cry of glee. "YEEEEAAAAAHHH!"
He ran down the center aisle, keeping his certificate raised for all to see, until he came upon his seat and quickly threw himself down into it. Chris let out a small laugh in reply and then anxiously waited for the next honor graduate.
"Next, Id like to congratulate Suran for honors in Quantum Physics!"
Another round of applause shot up as a Vulcan stood up from the front row and gracefully, calmly walked up to the podium. Keeping an even look on his face, he accepted the award and graduation certificate and then nodded to Admiral Baker.
Judging by the grin ever so slightly edging onto his face, Chris thought, hes probably only half Vulcan.
As Suran sat down, Admiral Baker paused a moment.
"For the past two years, this new Starfleet academy brought our best and brightest back to Earth," he started. "New programs were implemented, most heavy on defense, some heavy on science. But Starfleet has always been about exploration and science. Some fields deal solely with exploration, while others deal with both. So we created a new award. A Valedictorian award, if you will. It goes out to the one person of the graduating year who far surpasses everyone else in his or her field, both grade-wise and capability-wise.
"This one award is the greatest honor a student here in Starfleet can achieve, and often that student receives an immediate placement on a starship of their choice."
Admiral Baker paused a moment, pride edging at his eyes. "Ladys and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to present the Starfleet award to Lieutenant Vendar Perkins!"
A huge round of applause overtook the entire auditorium as a slender woman with long brown hair stood up and made her way to the podium. When she reached it, the applause did not die down. With only a smile on her face, and no trace of arrogance showing what so ever, she accepted the certificates from Admiral Baker. Baker pointed to the crowd and said something to her, causing her to move in front of the podium.
With that, the crowd stood, giving her the only standing ovation throughout probably the entire ceremony. Slightly blushing, she quickly left the stand and moved back to her seat.
Now thats the kind of junior officer I need he thought to himself. No arrogance at all. Someone to keep people like Lieutenant Malay in check
Vendar Perkins sighed as the other honor student ran up to her side. "Hey, congratulations!" Todd stated as he took up an even pace beside her.
Vendar gave him a weak smile and said, "Thanks. You too."
He gave a half-cocked, arrogant grin and replied, "Thanks! What field ya goin into?"
Annoyed at his interest, and just wanting to get back to her quarters, Vendar decided shed reply. Maybe, just maybe, if she satisfied his curiosity, hed leave her alone.
"Cool!" he replied enthusiastically. "My best buds going into the same field!"
Sarcastically, Vendar replied, "Very fascinating."
Silence engulfed the two for a moment, and Vendar realized shed surprised Todd.
"Ummm ." he hesitated for a moment. "Anyway, what post are ya looking at?"
He hit something there. Shed known for four months that she had been selected as class Valedictorian, and so had been looking through ship names and their crew rosters. Of course, the first she had looked at was the Enterprise, but she wasnt sure she was ready to risk her life to that extent.
At first, she had wanted to be on a good starship with a good crew, so she wouldnt have much personal conflict with them so she had looked at all of the famous ships. The Paris, the Khitomer But as she read logs and the like, she realized that the stories of the perfect crew on all of those ships were just that, stories. There were a lot of personal conflicts shed noticed on all of them. Though most of them had resolved their conflicts, she didnt want to disrupt that peace.
For four months, shed searched through the Federation database, but none of the ships suited her taste. She soon realized that being so picky about her first post would get her no where fast, even when looking at starbases.
"Im not sure," she hesitantly replied.
"I know exactly where Im off to," Todd said triumphantly. Good for you. "Im off to the Enterprise!" I sure feel sorry for Captain Picard and Commander Riker.
Suddenly realizing there was a ranking officer standing in their way, she quickly looked up to see who it was. Though she wasnt familiar with the Captain, she knew he wanted their attention.
"Lieutenants," he said, nodding for them to stop.
Vendar immediately snapped to attention and curtly replied, "Sir!"
Todd stared at her with a look of amusement before he took on a half-proper stance.
The Captain rolled his blue eyes and shook his head. "Its all right, Todd, you dont have to stand at such high attention. Im sure in your mind that Im not that worthy."
The sarcasm in his voice made both Vendar and Todd realize that Todd was in trouble.
"Uhh sorry, sir," Todd replied, straightening up.
"At ease, graduates," he said, smiling. Vendar immediately went into the at ease stance, clasping her hands behind her back and keeping her face level. Todd, on the other hand, took the phrase at ease closer to its dictionary meaning.
"Im Captain Chris Harriman," the man stated. I know that name wasnt he on the Dragon before it was destroyed? "I came here today looking for good junior officers to serve aboard my ship, and thought I might ask you two."
Interested, Vendar asked, "What ship are you commanding, sir?" Last she had heard, he was still a first officer. She didnt know he had been promoted after the Dragons destruction. Wonder if theres a new ship that was just commissioned.
"The best ship available," the Captain replied with a proud grin. "One only rivaled by the USS Paris itself. And not just in size, either." This caught Vendars attention. "And I only want the best for the best. Which is why Im asking you."
"Does this oh-so magnificent vessel of the stars have a name?" Todd asked, impatient.
Annoyed, the Captain glared down at Todd. "As a matter of fact, Lieutenant " He let that set in for a moment. "It does. The newly commissioned USS Dragon. NCC-27749-A." They commissioned a new Dragon?!
"If I may ask, what class of starship is it?" Vendar asked, very interested. The best for the best? Either that means clashing arrogance or brilliance and friendliness.
"Dragon class," the Captain replied. "New, top secret class. She just finished her preliminary field tests and only awaits a crew to command her."
Before Vendar could ask anymore, Todd replied, "No thanks, sir, Ive already signed up for the Enterprise!"
A friendly smile crept onto the Captains face. "Sorry to hear that, but if you would, please give Captain Picard my regards. Its been a while since I last saw him."
"Uhhh yes, sir."
Todd seemed to hesitate for a moment, glanced at Vendar, then started to walk off. He paused mid-step.
"Oh yeah! I do know someone whos looking for a new post that might suite you well!"
His interest piqued, the Captain gave his attention back to Todd. "Who might that be?"
"Lieutenant James Trikal, sir!" Todd said with a grin. "Ill admit, hes better than even I am! Just the pilot youre looking for!" Vendar felt a look of great surprise overcome her face. She had not expected him to admit something like that
The Captain smiled and said, "Thank you, Lieutenant. Ill be sure to look him up."
"Bye!" Todd said before taking off at a jog.
The Captain then looked to Vendar. "How about you, Lieutenant?"
"One question, sir?" she asked.
The Captain nodded and replied, "Of course."
"When you said the best for the best I was just wondering Well, does that mean clashing arrogance or brilliance and friendliness?"
The Captain smiled at first, which surprised Vendar. She had thought he might not have reacted well to the question, but knew that she needed to ask it if she was going to decide fairly.
"I remember asking the same question about my first starship post," he replied. "Trust me, Lieutenant. Ive known every senior officer thats going to be assigned to her at least one time in my life. It will be brilliance and friendliness."
A huge smile crept on to Vendars face. "Then you can count me in, sir!"
The Captain smiled and placed a hand on Vendars shoulder. "Good. Glad to have you with us. Youll be expected to report to the Dragon in less than a week. See you then, Lieutenant!"
The Captain then walked off, no doubt in search of the only other honor graduate, Suran. Happy beyond belief, Vendar energetically began walking down the path again. To her dismay, Todd joined her again, but she didnt really care.
"Any way, how bout joining me for dinner tonight!"
Not caring about the audacity of his question, Vendar simply said no and took off at a jog for her dorm room. Finally, she had found the post she was looking for
She quickly rolled out of the way of the Jem Hadars weapons fire. She then rolled onto one knee, took aim, and fired. Her shot easily found its target, leaving only one Jem Hadar left unstunned.
Not taking the time to smile at her small victory, she quickly got onto her feet and took off running. Ten meters later, she jumped over a small cargo crate, landed on her hands, rolled back up onto her feet, and neatly planted the butt of her pulse rifle in the last Jem Hadars jaw.
Star Trek Dragon graphics and written
material copyright Jon Wasik. Star Trek is a registered